Family Travel: Places Kids Should See - Hawaii

As you plan your family vacation this year, consider renting an Oahu timeshare and taking the time to teach your children about the day that President Franklin Roosevelt said "would live in infamy" by visiting Pearl Harbor. Located on Oahu, just west of Honolulu, Pearl Harbor was named because it was teeming with pearl-producing oysters until the 1800s. It is the home of a United States deep-water Naval base, and is the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet where on December 7, 1941, Japan attacked the United States starting WWII.

Many generations of Americans have been born since that fateful day, and have grown up needing a real place to touch and feel to understand the great import of what happened at Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is just such a place where your kids can truly become immersed in history.

The most popular attraction for visitors to Hawaii, the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is built over the sunken battleship and its crew of 1,117, among the first to parish in the on slot of bombs dropped by Japanese planes, in the surprise attack on that peaceful Sunday morning. Nine ships were sunk and 21 were severely damaged in just minutes. The death toll reached 2350, including 68 civilians.

In 1964 the Navy base itself was recognized as a National Historic Landmark district, including not only the U.S.S. Arizona, but other ships as well. There are several different tours that you can take your kids on to spend a day at Pearl Harbor. The tours include the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial, and the U.S.S. Bowfin, a submarine that traveled over 100,000 miles and sank a total of 38 ships during WWII. Also on the tours is the U.S.S. Missouri, the last battleship ever constructed by the U.S., and famous for being the site where the Japanese signed surrender papers to end WWII in the Pacific theater.

Standing above the sunken U.S.S. Arizona, clambering through the U.S.S. Bowfin, and walking underneath the gigantic guns of the "Mighty Mo" to the spot on her decks where the Japanese Imperial Navy formally surrendered to the United States, will give your kids not only an appreciation of this time in history, but the thrilling experience of being up-close and personal to some of the United States Navy's finest ships.

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